Kashmir Indepth
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Man-animal conflict: Kashmir witnesses 26 human deaths in 3 yrs

Arjumand Shah

Srinagar Nov 01 (KINS): Kashmir has witnessed an increase in man-animal conflict incidents as 26 people have been killed for the last three years.

Official figures reveal that at least 26 people have been killed by wild animals in the last three years. Among them 5 and 9 were killed in 2020 and 2021, respectively. In the first seven months of the current fiscal, at least 12 people have been killed.

The recent incidents have come to the fore from North Kashmir’s Uri area where five minors have been killed by wild animals since June this year which has created a fear among locals.

Similarly, over 640 people have also been injured by wild animals in several incidents across the valley for six years.

An official of the Wild Life Department said that mass urbanization, denudation of forests, encroachment of forestland, vanishing of buffer zones in the forests are some of the reasons responsible for conflicts between humans and animals.

“Animals do not feel safe in the forest so they are entering residential areas,” the official told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS)

“Leopards stray into residential areas usually in search of food. The human presence makes them insecure, following which they resort to attacking people,” the official said.

The wildlife department has made several sightings of wild animals in lower areas. Leopards have also been found close to human habitats even in Srinagar’s Jawahar Nagar area in the recent past.

When animals descend into lower areas, there are chances of their interaction with human inhabitants. This, at times, creates man-animal conflict.

Perturbed over the incidents of the man-animal conflicts, the Wild Life Department has asked people residing near forests to take extraordinary precautions.

In the advisory issued several times, the Department has asked people to avoid using bush growths and forest fringe areas for nature calls in late evening or night hours.

“Provide sufficient light around your utilities outside your home so that animals do not feel safe in the vicinity. The villagers must regularly remove all bushes or shrubs from the vicinity of houses in cooperative manner,” it adds.

“Do not chase or try to go near a wild animal if sighted from a distance. Provide sufficient light around your utilities outside home so that animals do not feel safe in the vicinity. Children and women are vulnerable to leopards. Bear attacks, which can be contained if they move in groups or children are accompanied by an elderly person,” the advisory reads. (KINS)

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